Neolithic wrote:The strange thing about it is that depending on the time of day these pet combos that are all too familiar to me now are not played the same way. I should prolly say they are NOT played as skillfully and definitely not consistently at certain times of the day.
My guildie and I run the same comp. We both use Son of Animus, but I use Interrupting Jolt and he uses Extra Plating. You could be encountering something like this.
Neolithic wrote:My conclusion is that game masters are heavily involved
It's certainly plausible that Blizzard tells it's GM staff "when you are not busy we encourage you to queue for pet battles".
If I can add my own fuel to the fire, I am completely certain that there is some kind of hidden mechanic that effects balancing and/or matchmaking.
With regard to matchmaking, it is all too common after making a quick 20-odd wins, to suddenly find yourself going up against hard counters. Let's say you run humanoid, mechanical, beast; it's not uncommon after getting a lot of quick wins to suddenly get matched against undead, elemental and mechanical comps. This could just as easily be a frustrated opponent trying to get back at you, but I also think there is sufficient grounds to believe there is some hidden matchmaking system (hereafter referred to as MMS) involved also.
Secondly, how many terrible players do you see with Stunted Direhorn? Heaps! How did they get 250 PvP wins if they are so bad, especially WITHOUT the help of the DIrehorn? Hidden MMS.
Do Blizzard have the ability to implement a hidden MMS? They certainly do. There is already a MMS in place for arenas, I don't see why the system couldn't be adapted for PvP Pet Battles.
Is there a motive for Blizzard to put in a hidden MMS? There certainly is. If beginners or lower-skilled players lose too much they are less-inclined to keep playing. If you win you have more fun than if you keep losing. There are plenty of Pet Battle YouTube videos where you can watch terrible players with terrible pets and terrible comps getting lots of wins. You wonder how they win as you facepalm their moves. They win because they are getting matched against similarly terrible players. This also perfectly explains why you will read on this forum, and others, people bragging about their "unbeatable" comp that wins them 95% of games while actual skilled pet battlers wouldn't go near such a comp.
A second motive exists for a hidden MMS: Pet Battles are supposed to be a fun pastime that casual players can enjoy too. They are not meant to be semi-E-sport like arenas. By keeping the MMS hidden it makes the game less competitive with less pressure to win. It also makes players feel like they better at the game than they are.
Now, as for hidden balancing. Ever notice that you'll beat someone fairly convincingly then face them again, only to get crit, or miss an attack at a crucial point? For example, you have your Fiendish Imp's Nether Gate ready to switch out a low-health Giant Bone Spider, so that he dies on the back line. Everything is going fine, you have all your moves planned in advance and it looks like an easy win. What happens? Your Nether Gate misses and your Imp dies. You bring in your next pet and it misses too and dies. What was an easy win becomes a stupid loss. Another example: a common team I face is Fiendish Imp / Direhorn / Direhorn. I fight this guy so much I know exactly what he'll do but it's certainly not a guaranteed win. Fighting him the other night we are both down to our last pets, both Fiendish Imps, except his is on low health and mine is on high health. We both know exactly how this is going to go. There's nothing he can do to win. We both cast Nether Gate. Mine miss, his crits. It's OK, I'm still on more health than him. We both cast Burn. Mine miss, his hits. I lose. RNG? Or hidden balancing mechanic?
Another example. My guildie, who is probably the best PvP Pet Battler on my realm, reported to me the other night that in one battle vs an Anubisath Idol, his opponent landed 6 (SIX!) Demolishes in a row while under Sandstorm. Anyone good at maths can say what the probability is of landing an attack 6 times in a row that has a 40% chance to hit?
Thanks to the OP for getting this conversation started. I'm fired up!